A day that should have been filled with joy and hope for a bright future turned into a day of horror and death when at least three people, including an 8-year-old girl, were killed by terrorists riding motorcycles who opened fire on celebrants at a wedding outside of a Coptic Christian church in Cairo on Sunday morning, according to Jacob Lanisky, a former police official and counterterrorism analyst.
At least nine other celebrants were wounded in the attack in the drive-by terrorist shooting, Lanisky said, but it is still not known what group is responsible for the attack.
"My money is on members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the Salafists, who are even more radical, are also likely suspects," said Lanisky.
Egypt's Christians are routinely targeted by Muslims believed to be members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist network who accuse the Coptics of supporting the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi over the summer.
The terrorists during this incident, while not bombing the church, took potshots at Christians as they were leaving the church after the wedding service.
An unidentified man and an 8-year-old girl were shot and killed as they left the church, while a woman died in an ambulance during the trip to a hospital.
A priest who asked for anonymity told the Arab media that "the church had been left without [security] since the end of June 2013.
The eight-million Egyptian Christians make up at least 10% of the population of the predominately Muslim nation.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is one of Christianity's oldest, founded in Alexandria around 50 AD during the Roman Empire.
"The double-suicide bombing outside a Catholic church [in Peshawar, Pakistan] has killed about 75 Pakistanis. It's considered one of the worst attacks on Christians in that predominately Islamic nation," said Joseph Hettinger, a former member of a police intelligence unit.
The Islamist group Jundullah, which is an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, claims the Christian slayings were retaliation for a recent U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attack on Islamists in northwest Pakistan.
Jundullah, or Army of God, is also located in Iran and Uzbekistan.
According to Al Jazeera, in August alone, more than 30 churches have been destroyed in the past week as thugs launch a campaign of intimidation.